Google Pixel XL First Look: Finally Google Steps Into The Arena!

You know this has been a long time in the making. This has been something many hoped for, some feared (Android manufacturers I’m looking at you), and some well could care less. Ever since the introduction of Android, Google had allowed any cellphone company who wanted access to Android get their hands on it. And Google has flourished. Apple may get the spotlight as the status symbol, but globally Android is everywhere. By 2015 it had a 81% share of the smartphones out there and I wouldn’t be surprised if that number remains or is higher. There is literally an Android phone available for everyone. Choice is abundant, so why would Google decide to make their own?

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Well Google is finally ready to do what Apple has been doing since day one, it is ready to control both end sides of the coin. Google is now controlling both the hardware and software side. Like Apple’s iPhone, the Pixel is Made by Google. To put that in context, the Pixel is made by Google the same as the iPhone is made by Apple. The iPhone really is built by a company called Foxconn, but Apple controls all part of its design. This is the same with the Pixel, it is built by HTC but Google is in full control here. Now that we got that out the way, I have one other thing I need to get off my chest; the name Pixel sucks, I very much like the name Nexus instead. Nexus sounds way cooler than Pixel on any given day! Okay I’ve said it, let’s move on.

img_20161018_112620 Google’s first real mainstream attempt at a modern smartphone is officially the Pixel and Pixel XL. For all first impressions/thought purposes, the review unit I’m using is the Pixel XL. Though make no mistake, Google is looking to make the experience of both the same. When you look at the specs, the only real different between the two is the screen size/type and battery size. Other than this the phones are exactly the same.

So I’ve been using the Pixel XL fiendishly since Friday night where I stayed up all night cooing over it. I’m a big Google user, so don’t judge lol. First off to say the Pixel looks a lot like the iPhone 7, I will not deny you this. It very much so takes a lot of design cues from the iPhone, while I hate to admit this fact, after using it for a little while I’m okay with this. The review unit’s color I was sent is Quite Black, but also comes in Very Silver and Really Blue. But most of this you probably know already, I know you want to get to the good stuff.

The Google Pixel is in one word amazing! Google’s Android has been evolving ever since the original G1, and the Pixel is such a modern refinement of this OS. Interacting with the phone is as smooth as ever, the design of the hardware is wonderful, and the internals is worthy of a flagship device for 2016. Using it so far though short, hasn’t disappointed. Some things need some getting used to. For example, the round icons and round folders are different. Not that I don’t like it, it just takes getting use to. Swiping up to access all your apps I do quite like, but again something to get used to. And the BIG factor here is Google’s new Google Assistant! Google Assistant is center stage here as the only phone to feature what will be Google’s next big thing from regular search. In the short time I’ve sent with it, I find myself talking to my phone much more than with any previous Android phone, and definitely more than I’ve given thought to with Siri on an iPhone. I really do like the conversational nature of the Assistant. And while this will be discussed more in the coming full review, it definitely deserves a solo moment of mention from a first impressions take away. What else? Here is some things I’ll leave you with.

– The Google Pixel feels lightweight and easy to hold.
– Android 7.1 Nougat with Google Assistant is something you’ll want to use!
– While I haven’t done my full battery test, early usage experience looks favorable.
– The camera on the Google Pixel claims the best ever on a smartphone. While I’m reserved in agreeing, I do not doubt this is a formidable contender for that title.
– Features like Smart Storage (in combination with that unlimited photo/video backup from Google Photos), and Nightlight mode are small but great features to have in a device.

Have a look at these sample shots below and then stay tuned for a full review later on!

Now there is certain a ton to way about this phone and I will have more thoughts as I get through this week, but just know; while that price tag couldn’t definitely led some to sticker shock Google has come up with a phone worthy enough on the Android side to command a premium price tag. You will ultimately decide it’s worth to you, but so far I’m loving this thing!

  • Veselin Markovi?

    You need to work on your grammar, Mr James Anderson. It’s on level of a 5-year old.